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January 30, 2014: NHLP Urges USDA to Strengthen Nondiscrimination Proposed Rule

On January 27, 2014, NHLP submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) concerning the agency’s proposed changes to certain nondiscrimination regulations. NHLP co-authored the comments with the National Fair Housing Alliance. The proposed rule would prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity in USDA’s federally-conducted programs. Read more.

The comments stressed support for the proposed regulation’s inclusion of gender identity as a protected category. However, the comments also urged USDA to extend nondiscrimination protections to its federally-assisted programs, which are outside the scope of the proposed rule as currently written. Specifically, the comments recommended that any final rule prohibit sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in all USDA programs, whether federally-conducted or federally-assisted. The comments reference the vital role of USDA’s Rural Development housing programs, and the importance of accessing safe, decent, and affordable housing free from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Seventeen civil rights, fair housing, low-income housing, and other advocacy organizations nationwide signed on to these comments.

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